Jacob “Jake” Winston understands the importance of financial aid for students who have the talent but not the resources to attend the University of Miami. “When I enrolled here as a freshman in 2009, UM gave me a scholarship, and that was a major factor in my decision to come here,” says Winston, a senior security systems technician at the UM Police Department. “Now that I am working full time here, I feel privileged to give back to the University.”
Last May, Winston contributed to the Class of 2014’s senior gift to UM, although he won’t receive his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering until next spring. He also gives 1 percent of his salary to the United Way, designating the University as the recipient. “I put no restrictions on my gifts,” says Winston. “It doesn’t matter where the donation goes as long as it helps UM.”
A native of Michigan, Winston has always been computer savvy, and his high school teachers in engineering design and anatomy inspired him to study the layout and functions of complex systems, such as the human body.
Now, Winston is applying that knowledge to the University’s campus-wide video security system. “Our goal is to protect people and catch criminals,” he says. When campus police conduct an investigation, Winston reviews video footage from surveillance cameras and provides information that can help lead to the apprehension and conviction of a suspect.
When he’s not on duty, Winston enjoys listening to all types of music, relaxing at the beach, and going out with his friends. “Miami is a great international city, and it’s a lot of fun to live and work here,” he says. “There’s something new and different to do every weekend.”
He never wavers, though, from encouraging other employees to do their part in supporting and sustaining the University. “We are all part of the ’Canes family,” he says. “The more we give, the more we strengthen the value of UM as an academic institution.”